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February 8th, 2012
07:33 PM ET

Obama administration looking to resolve contraception controversy

By Jessica Yellin and Brianna Keilar, CNN

(CNN) – After an avalanche of criticism, the White House is working on a way to thread the needle on a new health care policy which will require all employers-including religious institutions-to cover contraception in their health insurance plans.

Policy makers are angling for a loophole that would ensure women receive coverage without forcing Catholic charities, hospitals and institutions to pay for it, two senior administration sources told CNN Wednesday.

The administration is especially interested in the Hawaii model, in which female employees of religious institutions can purchase contraceptive coverage directly from the insurer at the same price offered to employees of all other employers.

FULL STORY
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Barack Obama • Belief • Bishops • Catholic Church • Church and state • Culture wars • Politics

soundoff (34 Responses)
  1. hippypoet

    God is an idea. Such an improbable idea that many have, to make the idea inarguable, said that the idea is beyond human comprehension and so by doing remove the need but more importantly the ability to prove and so make it an untouchable notion of truth based on an idea. How is that different from being delusional? You hold fast to an idea of an improbable, incomprehensible, and untouchable nature as if it is fact!
    Until you have evidence for the existence of god, the notion of god remains in the realm of ideas.
    And thats a factual statement!

    February 9, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
  2. Marvin

    Hosea WIlliams, JFK, RFK, MLK, Princess Di, teddy K all await obamas arrival in hell.

    February 9, 2012 at 11:53 am |
  3. Willie The Pimp

    Dumbama can kiss the catholic vote, and a 2nd term, GOOD BYE!!

    February 9, 2012 at 11:43 am |
  4. Houffman

    This strikes me as a freedom issue. Let churches act freely. Let businesses act freely. Let employees work for employers who provide the pay and benefits they desire. If a Catholic or church doesn't want to pay for birth control or abortion, work somewhere else. No one should be forced to act against his/her conscience, no matter what others think.

    February 9, 2012 at 11:32 am |
    • The Bobinator

      Strikes me that your argument is moronic. What if my particular religion states that I can't pay people more then $3 dollars an hour for labour. Should I be allowed to only offer that?

      The reality is that religious companies are trying to enforce their will upon their employees. This is a direct violation of the first amendment. Religious freedom means freedom from religion.

      February 9, 2012 at 1:35 pm |
  5. J.W

    As long as the coverage is available to the people who want it, that is the important thing. If there is a way the employees can receive the coverage they need that is the important thing.

    February 9, 2012 at 10:55 am |
  6. rad666

    Who cares what the church wants? They do not even pay taxes.

    February 9, 2012 at 9:31 am |
  7. BRC

    "If the president does not reverse the department's attack on religious freedom, then the Congress, acting on behalf of the American people, and the consttution, that we're sworn to uphold and defend, must," Boehner said on the House floor, adding the Energy and Commerce committee would spearhead the effort.

    I don't know his policies well, but Boehner might be an idiot. The Bill had to pass through the House, you had your chance. 2) What could the Energy and Commerce Commerce committee possibly have to do with a (baseless) First Amendment complaint. Now, if he were to oppose the Act on the grounds that it interferes with the free market, that would make sense at it at least kidn of relates to commerce, but still; he should have done that when the House VOTED TO APPROVE THE BILL.

    February 9, 2012 at 9:17 am |
  8. Prayer is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer takes people away from actually working on real solutions to their problems.
    Prayer wears out your clothes prematurely.
    Prayer contributes to global warming through excess CO2 emissions.
    Prayer fucks up your knees and your neck and your back.
    Prayer can cause heart attacks, especially among the elderly.
    Prayer reveals how stupid you are to the world.
    Prayer exposes your backside to pervert priests.
    Prayer makes you think doilies are exciting.
    Prayer makes your kids avoid spending time with you.
    Prayer prevents you from getting badly needed exercise.
    Prayer dulls your senses.
    Prayer makes you post really stupid shit.
    Prayer makes you hoard cats.
    Prayer makes you smell like shitty kitty litter and leads you on to harder drugs.
    Prayer wastes time.

    February 9, 2012 at 9:04 am |
  9. Nancy Rushon

    Come on. This is getting ridiculous. Canadian catholic I have had drug coverage for 40yrs which includes birth control if I want it. I don't see the Vatican upset with the Canadians who have used their drug coverage for over 50yrs to include any drug prescribed by physicians. So why is it the American Catholics stance is different from the Canadians
    I never thought the day I would see Canada more progressive in ideas and culture than Americans

    February 9, 2012 at 9:00 am |
    • TruthPrevails

      @Nancy: Our government tends to keep religion out of politics and politics out of religion more so than the States do.

      February 9, 2012 at 9:35 am |
  10. Original Tibs

    Should the medical coverage for employees of Evangelical Fundamentalists be limited to prayer circles and the laying on of hands? Should the employees of a Jehovah's Witness not be covered for blood transfusions?

    This issue is not about contraceptives, it is about the Latino vote.

    The faith of the Church is being used for political gain.

    February 9, 2012 at 8:28 am |
  11. HotAirAce

    The RCC would have a much stronger argument, and be more credible, if their cult members didn't account for about one- third of the abortions performed each year in the USA.

    February 9, 2012 at 12:29 am |
    • Nii Croffie

      Thank God for that otherwise your vote would have become meaningless by now!

      February 9, 2012 at 3:31 am |
  12. jthauthor

    What would Jesus say? Perhaps it would be that persons of faith first clean their own house before asking secular authorities to do the same.
    Catholics and evangelicals, not always known for their tolerance, are now asking for a little respect for more diverse views and practices from their federal government.
    http://www.jesustheheresy.com

    February 9, 2012 at 12:24 am |
  13. Reality

    "Facts on Contraceptive Use

    http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/fb_contr_use.html
    January 2008

    "WHO NEEDS CONTRACEPTIVES?

    • 62 million U.S. women (and men?) are in their childbearing years (15–44).[1]

    • 43 million women (and men) of reproductive age, or 7 in 10, are se-xually active and do not want to become pregnant, but could become pregnant if they or their partners fail to use a con-traceptive method.[2]

    • The typical U.S. woman (man?) wants only 2 children. To achieve this goal, she (he?) must use cont-raceptives for roughly 3 decades.[3]

    WHO USES CON-TRACEPTIVES?

    • Virtually all women (98%) aged 15–44 who have ever had int-ercourse have used at least one con-traceptive method.[2](and men?)

    • Overall, 62% of the 62 million women aged 15–44 are currently using one.[2] (and men)

    • 31% of the 62 million women (and men?) do not need a method because they are infertile; are pregnant, postpartum or trying to become pregnant; have never had inte-rcourse; or are not se-xually active.[2]

    • Thus, only 7% of women aged 15–44 are at risk of unwanted pregnancy but are not using con-traceptives.[2] (and men?)

    • Among the 42 million fertile, s-exually active women who do not want to become pregnant, 89% are practicing con-traception.[2] (and men?)

    WHICH METHODS DO WOMEN (men?) USE?

    • 64% of reproductive-age women who practice con-traception use reversible methods, such as oral con-traceptives or condoms. The remaining women rely on female or male sterilization.[2]

    FIRST-YEAR CON-TRACEPTIVE FAILURE RATES

    Percentage of women (men?) experiencing an unintended pregnancy (a few examples)

    Method……………..Typical

    Pill (combined)……… 8.7
    Tubal sterilization ……0.7
    Male condom ……….17.4
    Vasectomy…………… 0.2

    Periodic abstinence.. 25.3 (RCC approved)
    Calendar 9.0 (RCC approved)
    Ovulation Method 3.0 (RCC approved)
    Sympto-thermal 2.0 (RCC approved)
    Post-ovulation 1.0 (RCC approved)

    No method 85.0" (RCC approved and important to women and men wanting to get pregnant)

    (Abstinence) 0 (RCC approved)

    (Masturbation) 0

    More facts about contraceptives from

    guttmacher.org/pubs/fb_contr_use.html

    "CON-TRACEPTIVE METHOD CHOICE

    Cont-raceptive method use among U.S. women who practice con-traception, 2002

    Method No. of users (in 000s) % of users
    Pill.............. 11,661.................. 30.6
    Male condom 6,841.................. 18.0 "

    i.e.
    The pill fails to protect women 8.7% during the first year of use (from the same reference previously shown).

    i.e. 0.087 (failure rate)
    x 62 million (# child bearing women)
    x 0.62 ( % of these women using contraception )
    x 0.306 ( % of these using the pill) =

    1,020,000 unplanned pregnancies
    during the first year of pill use.

    For male condoms (failure rate of 17.4 and 18% use level)

    1,200,000 unplanned pregnancies during the first year of male condom use.

    The Gut-tmacher Inst-itute (same reference) notes also that the perfect use of the pill should result in a 0.3% failure rate
    (35,000 unplanned pregnancies) and for the male condom, a 2% failure rate (138,000 unplanned pregnancies).

    o Conclusion: The failures of the widely used birth "control" methods i.e. the pill and male condom have led to the large rate of abortions and S-TDs in the USA. Men and women must either recognize their responsibilities by using the pill or condoms properly and/or use other methods in order to reduce the epidemics of abortion and S-TDs.

    February 8, 2012 at 11:41 pm |
  14. P Blackmore

    All politicians, including Obama, need to quit kowtowing to the rabidly religious. The religious seem to have no problem trying to dictate how others should live but won't clean their own houses (ie: pedophile priests, people like Jeffries, issues in their own homes etc etc). If our government attempted to dictate how these different sects should worship they'd be howling about it. And if delusional women out there are willing to let their men dictate their birth control use that's their personal problem.
    Keep your personal religious beliefs and birth control choices to yourselves I don't want to hear about it. Quit involving the rest of the nation in your insanity.

    February 8, 2012 at 10:01 pm |
    • jn0224

      how is he kowtowing? He's forcing groups to offer certain things in their healthcare benefits? Where does he get that right?

      February 8, 2012 at 10:07 pm |
    • P Blackmore

      JN – Obama, the HOR and Senate has forced the entire nation to accept a healthcare plan that some do not find beneficial. If you are in business in this country, whether a religious organization or not, you deal with the rules. Buck up and move on. I'm tired of religious organization having special rights while attempting to deny the rights of others (ie their stance on reproductive rights/abortion etc).

      February 8, 2012 at 10:56 pm |
  15. Observer

    Contraceptives should be free as air. You failed Obama. We need uniform national health insurance for just this sort of thing.

    February 8, 2012 at 8:44 pm |
    • GetReal

      Or women with at least a patina of self-control.

      February 8, 2012 at 8:53 pm |
    • GetReal'sAFop

      It takes two to tango, fool.

      February 8, 2012 at 9:13 pm |
    • Gentile Ben

      Dancing's not the problem. Fornication is the problem. THAT takes at least two.

      February 8, 2012 at 9:23 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      So married women should do what, exactly, GetReal? You do realize that nearly every woman uses contraceptives at some point in her life, don't you? That it isn't just teenagers or 20-somethings who are single?

      No, you probably don't.

      February 8, 2012 at 9:23 pm |
    • P Blackmore

      @Get Real – Your psychology is showing. Having issues with women is a personal problem, maybe you'd feel more living is Saudia Arabia.

      February 8, 2012 at 9:46 pm |
  16. Prayer is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer takes people away from actually working on real solutions to their problems.
    Prayer wears out your clothes prematurely.
    Prayer contributes to global warming through excess CO2 emissions.
    Prayer fucks up your knees and your neck and your back.
    Prayer can cause heart attacks, especially among the elderly.
    Prayer reveals how stupid you are to the world.
    Prayer exposes your backside to pervert priests.
    Prayer prevents you from getting badly needed exercise.
    Prayer makes you post really stupid shit.
    Prayer makes you hoard cats.
    Prayer makes you smell like shitty kitty litter and leads you on to harder drugs.
    Prayer wastes time.

    February 8, 2012 at 8:40 pm |
  17. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things

    February 8, 2012 at 8:37 pm |
    • Prayer is not healthy for children and other living things

      Prayer takes people away from actually working on real solutions to their problems.
      Prayer wears out your clothes prematurely.
      Prayer contributes to global warming through excess CO2 emissions.
      Prayer fucks up your knees and your neck and your back.
      Prayer can cause heart attacks, especially among the elderly.
      Prayer reveals how stupid you are to the world.
      Prayer exposes your backside to pervert priests.
      Prayer prevents you from getting badly needed exercise.
      Prayer makes you post really stupid shit.
      Prayer makes you hoard cats.
      Prayer makes you smell like shitty kitty litter and leads you on to harder drugs.
      Prayer makes you think doilies are exciting.
      Prayer wastes time.

      February 8, 2012 at 8:41 pm |
    • Prayer changes things

      Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

      February 8, 2012 at 9:24 pm |
    • Nope

      The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs."""~~~~~~~~~~~~~

      February 9, 2012 at 8:09 am |
  18. grinder

    ban religion

    February 8, 2012 at 8:21 pm |
    • Lycidas

      Why?

      February 8, 2012 at 8:22 pm |
    • grinder

      because its stupid

      February 8, 2012 at 9:14 pm |
  19. Fidei Coticula Crux

    No one should be forced to act against their conscience.

    February 8, 2012 at 7:43 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.